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How can Microsoft 365 help my Business?

IT Blog from Resolve, IT Experts in Sheffield How can Microsoft 365 help my Business?
Microsoft 365 Business means you can now finally ditch your server and still maintain the same level of security across your organisation. Jude explains.

Microsoft 365 Business is the long-awaited solution that allows small businesses to go truly “serverless” without compromising on the control of computers, laptops and mobile devices.

One of the questions we’re regularly asked is “do we really need a server”? The answer to this question always depends on the circumstance – there is no one-size-fits-all approach. It’s helpful to think about why your small business has a server in the first place, here are the most common reasons:

- Emails
- A host for your “line of business” application, like Sage
- Somewhere to store and access your files and folders
- A central location in which all user accounts reside
- A place in which you can set policies and controls over your team’s access to the IT systems

Let’s break down these components and see what the Microsoft cloud can do by way of an alternative to that server you might be thinking of replacing.

The email portion of Office 365 is known as Exchange Online and is widely adopted across the small business market, it’s a smart choice as a cloud alternative to hosting your own emails. If you’re happy to move to Exchange Online, you can tick this one off the list.

A host for your "line of business" application, like Sage
In some cases, you can lift your applications and databases into servers in the cloud, however, it’s becoming more and more popular for software vendors to create a cloud or web based version of their application and deliver it over the internet. This is known as Software as a Service, or SaaS. This is one of the most common reasons for keeping your own server in-house; if your chosen application doesn’t have a SaaS version. If you’re fortunate enough to be able to - tick this off the list.

Somewhere to store and access your files and folders
Microsoft 365 Business goes together perfectly with both Exchange Online for emails, and SharePoint online for files. Providing your criteria is correct, you can move your data to the cloud using SharePoint Online. As it develops, it is becoming increasingly easy to take advantage of its file storage capabilities.

Stopping here, let’s look at what we’ve covered so far. Your email and data is now in Microsoft Office 365, and your line of business application is in the cloud, what does that leave us with?
- A central location in which all user accounts reside
- A place in which you can set policies and controls over your team’s access to the IT systems

It’s these last two functions where Microsoft 365 Business comes into play. It can fill this gap, by providing control over your organisation’s devices, matching some of what your server could do previously, allowing you to rely on the cloud entirely. Better still, because it is a cloud-based service, it’s available from anywhere – no more VPN’s or remote access technologies. 

Your IT team will assign security policies, such as forcing encryption on the device, blocking USB devices, and setting password policies. These policies follow the member of staff, not just the device. Effectively, this allows you to access your email or data from any device, at any time – as you have come to expect – but with the added benefit of knowing that the device which you are accessing it from, complies with your company’s IT policy. If it doesn’t, it simply won’t allow it! It provides ultimate security when working remotely.

Microsoft 365 Business brings the Office 365 eco-system together and gives back the same kind of control that your server gives you, but under one monthly subscription, removing the need for a server altogether. It means you can go entirely cloud based, whilst maintaining control over your company data and communications.

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